Re: chpst -u and supplementary groups

From: Cameron Nemo <>
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2019 11:25:30 -0700

On Mon, Aug 19, 2019 at 5:08 AM Jan Braun <> wrote:
> Hello list!
> Yesterday, I spent way too much time chasing down a permissions problem
> caused by the fact that "chpst -u acc prog..." only sets the account's
> primary group, and ignores any supplementary groups the account may be a
> member of.
> TFM mentions "All initial supplementary groups are removed.", but I
> failed to memorize that. (Also, what does "initial" signify here?)
> My inability to see the issue came from the fact that all other similar
> programs (I'm aware of) do in fact add the supplementary groups. Watch:
> | # chpst -u test id
> | uid=1003(test) gid=1003(test) groups=1003(test)
> | # runuser -u test id
> | uid=1003(test) gid=1003(test) groups=1003(test),4(adm)
> | # s6-setuidgid test id
> | uid=1003(test) gid=1003(test) groups=1003(test),4(adm)
> | # su - test -c id
> | uid=1003(test) gid=1003(test) groups=1003(test),4(adm)
> | # su test -c id
> | uid=1003(test) gid=1003(test) groups=1003(test),4(adm)
> | # sudo -u test id
> | uid=1003(test) gid=1003(test) groups=1003(test),4(adm)
> | #

Most of these (su, sudo, runuser) go through PAM.
su and sudo are primarily targeted at interactive use.
I found another outlier, Google's minijail0:

/ # chpst -u cameronnemo /usr/bin/id
uid=1000(cameronnemo) gid=1000(cameronnemo) grupos=1000(cameronnemo)
/ # minijail0 -u cameronnemo /usr/bin/id
uid=1000(cameronnemo) gid=0(root) grupos=0(root)
/ # minijail0 -u cameronnemo -g cameronnemo /usr/bin/id
uid=1000(cameronnemo) gid=1000(cameronnemo) grupos=1000(cameronnemo)

> So now I'm wondering:
> What are the use cases for not applying existing supplementary groups?
It requires additional fact finding by what amounts to a shim between
the OS and the service.
Use cases are questionable -- why is a login session not more suitable?
Workarounds and other options exist, as demonstrated above.
> Should chpst apply them by default?
I would rather it not.
> Should chpst grow an option to (not) apply them?
Depends on the implementation.
> "chpst -u acc: prog..." is still free.
> Or is everything as it's supposed to be, and people might need to munge
> the output of "getent initgroups acc" and feed it to the -u option?
Yeah let's not do this. A good implementation is possible, and has been done.

> I'll be happy to try to come up with a patch (even if it's still a
> fatter warning in the manpage) if people can agree here what the right
> thing to do is.

Nobody maintains runit, so who is taking this patch?

> regards,
> Jan

Received on Tue Aug 20 2019 - 18:25:30 UTC

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